Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Don't Even Want to Admit It

I dropped the darned thing again today and I have no idea how it happened. The two times I've done it before I knew immediately and instantly what I did wrong, but today I'm clueless and a little scared.
To begin with I was about a half mile from the house this afternoon when I heard a loud POP that sounded like it came from the scooter. I pulled over into a nearby driveway and gave it the once over, especially the tires because my first thought was that I somehow blew one though I never heard of a tire going out with a literal bang. Everything looked fine so I continued on my merry way, dropped off the chainsaw blade that I was taking to get sharpened and returned to the house.

A half hour or so later I was off again to attend the wake of a friend's dad. On my way back, while driving down the exit ramp from the bridge that crosses the river, I was nearly at the stop sign when I felt my front end go wild on me. It felt as if some giant had taken hold of the yoke and wrenched it from me. I wobbled for a second or two straining with all my might to regain control of the front tire before I went down, this time to my left; the first two times I'd dropped to the right.

Luckily there was nobody behind me because at that spot, if there had been, he'd likely have been on top of me. Much to my chagrin there was a long line of folks waiting to turn left in the lane beside me and all of them no doubt got the full show of me losing control and going over.
I pulled my left leg out from under the bike, jumped to my feet, and gave it another once over before starting to upright it. As I remounted it I heard somebody from the other lane ask if I was okay or if I needed help. I felt fine at the time, but was horrified to discover that I couldn't turn the engine over. Being only about a quarter mile from home I prayed with fervor that I could hobble it home if I needed to rather than have to call for assistance and my prayers were answered as the motor caught on about the fourth or fifth attempt.

I'd intended to ride it tomorrow to the dealership where I get all my work done on it to have them go over it, but after parking it and then checking on it a little while later I discovered a small oil puddle starting to form under it. When I knelt to see where the oil was coming from I discovered that a little plastic cap is missing...

I'm wondering now if the explosive sound I'd heard earlier could have been that cap blowing off. I'm wondering too if that in any way might account for the wobble and fall I did later. Of course I might have lost the cap in the fall itself and the sound might have just been a coincidence. The sound might not have come from the scooter itself, though I'd have sworn that it did. In any event, I have to see now about getting the bike to the dealer. I'll visit them tomorrow with this picture to see if they can give me a cap to replace myself so I can top off the oil and drive it down there or if they'll need to pick it up. And I'll visit the place where I toppled to see if there's anything about the roadway that might account for the wicked wobble and loss of steering control I experienced.

Oh yeah... The small ache I felt in my left foot when I righted the cycle has become a significant swelling and a throbbing pain. Apparently I bent my toes beyond normal bending range when I was going down. Being a guy I won't be going to the doctor nor to the E.R. We'll give it a few months to see if it heals by itself. Meanwhile, just call me old four wheels till I get my baby back.


Paul said...

Don't be such a wuss, go to the Dr.! *insert grin here*

The difficulty with falls on a scooter comes from the very step-through design that makes them a scooter rather than a motorcycle. Since there are no footpegs like there are on a motorcycle, there is nothing to keep the weight of the vehicle off the rider's legs. This means that the edge of the floorboard can fall directly on one's ankle/calf, which is very likely to cause a break.

A wobble like that from the front is not likely to be caused by something in the back. The picture you posted looks like the air filter. All air filters on scooters (at least the ones I've seen), have an oil drain since some excess oil always ends up in there. Most of the drains I've seen are a simple rubber tube. I can't tell for sure by looking at the pictures on Piaggio's website, but it appears that the air filter on the BV-250 has a little clear bubble for an oil trap, right in the spot where you have a gaping hole. Judging from the scratches on your CVT cover, my guess is that it popped off when you fell. I doubt it's going to be a major issue. the only thing it's going to do is cause you to drip oil on the ground rather than into the oil catch.

The pop you heard may have come from the front fork. My guess is that something gave out, which caused your wobble. I wouldn't ride the scooter again until you can get it to the shop.

cpa3485 said...

Glad that you are okay!! Has to be a bit scary, being not sure what caused it.

A couple of months after I purchased my scooter I thought that the front end was a little loose, so I had the dealer check it out. He found nothing wrong and we decided that it was just pavement irregularities that caused the uneasy feelings.

I have never dropped my scooter. I realize it is not necessarily a question of 'if' as opposed to 'when'. I just hope the 'when' is a long time from now and that I am lucky enough to not get hurt too badly.

Enjoy your blog and am curious about an update on this event.

bobskoot said...

OH NOOOO . . . hoping you heal "good as new" . You mentioned that you were going "down the exit ramp" , perhaps the ramp was more slippery than you noticed and you grabbed TOO much front brake causing the front wheel to lose traction and "slide" out from under you. It happens fast. It happened to me last year in gravel.
When your scooter tips over perhaps some oil or gas got into your air filter assembly. I would imagine that all you would need to do is to wash out with soap and water. That plug just looks like an access "port" to suction out the overflow.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin